The moon we are terraforming is a relative astronomical rarity: it has a rather thick atmosphere, much thicker than one would expect considering the moon's diameter and apparent density. Whatever the reason for the unusually high gravity, this moon has kept virtually all of its primordial gases, only losing the very lightest elements. This moon's atmosphere is not breathable, however. It is mostly composed of noble gases, hydrocarbons, ammonia, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Only trace amounts of oxygen exist in the atmosphere, due to initial stage vegetation respiration and precipitator operations. In order to prepare the environment for higher forms of life ( including ourselves ), the atmosphere needs to undergo a dramatic transformation.
The first tool for atmospheric transformation we will use is the gas harvester. With this machine, we extract the three main undesirable gases: ammonia, methane, and acetylene. These three gases make up the bulk of the atmosphere, along with elemental nitrogen. Each gas is removed from the air and cracked in separate open reactors, which split each molecule cleanly into its component atoms. In the process of filtering these gases out of the atmosphere, we collect large quantities of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, which we can use later for building useful organic compounds.
In order to raise the atmospheric oxygen levels, we employ oxygen mining machines. These machines use laser drills to heat the ore and centrifuges to separate the materials. The machine targets two relatively abundant materials, silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide. Once these materials are separated, they are fed into subsurface reactors which break off the dioxides. In this way, we generate oxygen while also collecting a useful supply of elemental silicon and titanium.
Its a cold day in the neighborhood...
The thick atmosphere provides a greenhouse effect, trapping heat rather effectively. Unfortunately, there is very little heat to trap. Without secondary heating, only the hardiest low temperature vegetation and micro-organisms can survive. The water vapor generated by the precipitators quickly freezes, rendering the water useless to plant life.
This is not an unusual situation for terraforming colonies. Generating heat is a simple process when using a thermal generator. This machine is one of the least complex systems relying on open-reactor technology. The system simply attracts the most abundant elements of the atmosphere and rhythmically compresses it, generating radiative heat that is focused onto a transfer element by a set of reflectors. From the transfer element, the energy travels along a set of radiator antennae and into the atmosphere. Locally, the temperature is raised significantly with a short gradient roll-off, but it can prevent water vapor freezing for any precipitators within its effective radius. Global temperature changes, however, are only incrementally affected, and will take an extended period of time to raise significantly.
Sewing the seeds of tomorrow...
With each degree of temperature change, more forms of life can be supported. While other processes prepare the atmosphere, we also need to build up a biological foundation. Creating a viable ecosphere requires seeding the air and surface with increasingly complex microorganisms, spores, pollens, feeder carbohydrates, amino acids and nucleic acids. In order to accomplish this, terraforming colonists build programmable organic seeder machines. These machines are able to take raw elements and construct very complex organic systems, from molecules up to complete single cell organisms. Organic seeders have a built-in library of useful synthesis programs, but these are mostly rather generic and not optimized or adapted to any specific environment. For initial terraforming chores, this library is sufficient, but it is recommended that colonists build research systems to configure the organic synthesis programs for more efficient use of resources and higher success rates.
Time flies when you're having fun...
Way too much time has passed between posts. I had a lot of research to do, and building increasingly complex machine prototypes took quite a while. Of course I could also mention taking time off to work on my brother's website and fixing my mother's PC, but that just seems like excuses. Anyway... I have built a decent number of prototypes, including a few I haven't mentioned yet. I will add them all to the encyclopedia on the Mythaka website in the next few days, and I will update this post when I do so.
In other news, my brother has volunteered to fix up some video clips for uploading to youtube, so that is something to look forward to! It is probably going to be at least a week before I have any video to show off, but I will try to have something prepared for my next post. Please keep the pitchforks in the shed though, I am not making any promises!
Next time, look forward to reading about the metamaterial generator, various research systems, housing, and hopefully more! As always, I appreciate any feedback you all give me...
the Undead Dev